The design process requires multiple community meetings. Its a good idea for the community to meet at least a couple times to brainstorm ideas together as a community before inviting the artist/designer. Also discuss who the artist could be – should they be from your own community or will you also look outside your community? Gathering reference images and text is necessary unless you plan to pay the artist to also do lots of research. You will need to know your budget before inviting an artist or before sending out a call for artists.

While the artist might give you advice about following items but it is best if your community has already made some decisions or at least has some options BEFORE meeting with the artist(s).

Items the designer/artists will need to know:

  • Aesthetic/style of mural
    Community should have a few examples of what they like to show the artist, keeping in mind that if the community will participate in painting the mural, the design style must allow this.
  • Color preferences or color palette
    What not to use or must include? Decide on not only a few main colors that would be most dominant, but also the other colors to be included. Is this a quiet mural with low contrast or is it to be brightly colored?
  • Which wall, building or site
    Permission must be granted from building owner and if larger size, your city might need to grant you permission – sometimes they require sketches first. What is the condition of the wall? Who will be fixing it as needed, cleaning and priming it?
  • To be painted or printed/installed?
    Murals can be painted off-site and installed, or designs can be printed and installed but this would need to be a temporary mural as the life span of printed materials is generally shorter
  • Subject matter
    Is there a general theme or are there specific items or text to be included? Who is assigned to do additional research? Is there a local historian who can be consulted? Will it be about local heroes (past, present or both)? Are there neighborhood icons or buildings to be included? Is there a quote that resonates with everyone?
  • Timeline
    Depending on where you live, the weather and if permissions are needed from your city, your timeline might extend to a year or longer
  • What is the budget?
    Its fantastic if you already have a budget for a mural, but if not – consider fundraising and crowdsourcing for the funds necessary to pay the artist/designer for the design or design + painting. Donations or deep discounts of paint and materials are also possible.

Design Meetings with Designers/Artist(s)

Then you will meet with the artist/designer multiple times to:

  1. Meeting the artist and give them direction on the mural design
  2. Artist shows design(s), community gives feedback
  3. Artist shows final design(s) again, community gives further feedback
  4. Final review